Do Nations Owe God Anything?
I hope that the answer to the title of this post is obvious (I meant it to be rhetorical). If you don’t know where I stand on this then I will go ahead and give you my answer: Yes! What has spurred me to touch on this is that probably three or four times a year I read where Christians are accused of wanting to set up a theocracy because they take a biblical stand on some public policy issue. This is my first attempt to forward some ideas on the issue.
I have meant for some time to try and track down bible verses that show that God is the creator of the universe and therefore He rules over all nations. I am sure that I have missed some but the results of my effort follow at the end of the post. Then, using these verses as a backdrop, I am going to pose a series of questions with my answers. If any of my readers would like to chip in then that would be great.
Do the nations really owe God any obedience? If all authority in the universe is derived from God, and is exercised with His permission, nations don’t get carte blanche to do whatever they please. The principle of “to whom much is given, much is expected” applies to both individuals and nations. If a nation’s leadership decides that they really don’t want to be a terror to evil (see Romans 13:3 below) why wouldn’t God move against them for abusing His authority?
If we as a nation follow the morals (or ethics is you prefer) laid out in the Christian Bible then aren’t we a theocracy? No, I wouldn’t say that at all. Every law and regulation is a statement about right and wrong. If the state doesn’t believe it’s wrong for me to murder someone then why do they make it illegal? I would not say that any nation crosses the line into theocracy until the state sets up a national religion. The state telling the people how they will worship is very different thing than a people who worship telling the state what it can do. As long as I have freedom I will do my part in telling the state what it can do.
If we have people legislating from a Judeo-Christian perspective then we won’t be allowed to eat pork or shellfish. How can you justify such a thing in these modern times? I know this is part of the Mosaic Law but statements like this seem just downright silly to me. I hope that anyone familiar with the Mosaic Law understands that these rules were part of a health code, a concept way ahead of its time. So, I will answer the question with another question: How many of the people who are loudly “anti-theocracy” would be willing to abolish the local health department? This would do away with sanitation inspections for restaurants but it would certainly establish their anti-theocracy street cred.
Can’t we just leave God out of this and take an unbiased view of the issues? All I can say is that if God is the source of all truth, and if we ignore that truth, I don’t see how that is unbiased. What would we call that: unbiased depravity?
I could come up with many more questions like these but my few readers get the idea. What say ye?
11 Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou rulest over all; and in thy hand is power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
1 Chronicles 29:11-12
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of Jehovah, before the new court;
6 and he said, O Jehovah, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and art not thou ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in thy hand is power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee.
2 Chronicles 20:5-6
16 Jehovah is King for ever and ever: The nations are perished out of his land.
15 And Hezekiah prayed before Jehovah, and said, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, that sittest above the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
2 Kings 19:15
19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his.
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that have understanding;
24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king:
25 that thou shalt be driven from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and thou shalt be made to eat grass as oxen, and shalt be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee; till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
6 There is none like unto thee, O Jehovah; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
7 Who should not fear thee, O King of the nations? for to thee doth it appertain; forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royal estate, there is none like unto thee.
8 But they are together brutish and foolish: the instruction of idols! it is but a stock.
9 There is silver beaten into plates, which is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and purple for their clothing; they are all the work of skilful men.
10 But Jehovah is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth trembleth, and the nations are not able to abide his indignation.
7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it;
8 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
23 He increaseth the nations, and he destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations, and he leadeth them captive.
10 Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee?
11 Jesus answered him, Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath greater sin.
24 The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;
1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same:
4 for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.